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The University Counsel

The University Counsel represents the University on all legal matters. This representation includes the provision of legal services and advice to the Board of Trustees, the President and all units and duly authorized representatives of the University. The University Counsel is authorized to retain outside counsel, as necessary, and supervises all such professional services.

The Secretary of the Corporation

The Secretary of the Corporation serves as Secretary of the Board of Trustees and provides governance advice to and administrative support for the Board of Trustees, which by law is vested with control and oversight over the University including all of its colleges, schools, divisions, departments and centers. The Secretary of the Corporation also performs the usual duties of a corporate secretary, including impressing the corporate seal upon official University documents. Please visit the Board of Trustees site for more information.


The Office of University Counsel is the in-house legal office for Cornell University; it is divided into three sections or practice groups, each of which focuses on assigned areas as described below.

Corporate Section – Attorneys in this section provide advice and counsel on a broad range of business, transactional and compliance matters affecting the University. These encompass inquiries and issues involving negotiating and drafting contracts, business and financial transactions, governmental regulatory matters, development and endowment, investment, tax, antitrust, construction and facilities, land use and real estate, international initiatives, information technology, environmental health and safety, employee benefits, intellectual property (including copyright), technology transfer, and sponsored research.

Litigation and Employment Section – This section is responsible for representing the University and its authorized agents in administrative and court litigation. In addition, attorneys in this section handle subpoenas and record requests that third parties and courts serve on the University, as well as bankruptcy matters, student disputes, and personnel matters.

Weill Cornell Medicine Office – The medical college branch office is located in New York City. Attorneys in this section provide advice and counsel on business and compliance matters that directly involve or impact Weill Cornell Medicine, including its branch program in Qatar and the Physician Organization. In addition, WCM – based attorneys provide advice on medical and clinical matters, health law issues, human subjects protection, patient privacy, clinical trials, WCM – industry relationships, and research compliance.

The Office of University Counsel only handles University-related matters. If you need an attorney for personal matters, please use New York State Bar Association’s free referral service by calling 1-800-342-3661.

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